Citibank “Two Browser Trick” Dead (or on Life Support)

Reader Mike points me to the ongoing Flyertalk discussion of Citibank’s American Airlines co-branded credit card offers.

While I haven’t tried this myself as it hasn’t been 18 months since signing up for my last American Airlines credit card (conventional wisdom is that’s about how long you need to wait between applications to get the bonus again), discussion starting at post 4,199 in that thread seems to suggest that the ‘two browser trick’ may no longer work.

The practice has been that if you applied for two similar Citibank products at the same time, such as two American Airlines personal credit cards (say, a Visa and an American Express) that you could get approved for both. That way, if using a 50,000 mile signup offer, you could net 100,000 miles.

Several reports over the past few days though suggest that folks are getting approved for one card but not both.

Now, we don’t have definitive knowledge of what’s going on yet. It could be a cluster of random unfortunate data. It could be posters purposely sharing misinformation, something I’ve seen on some Flyertalk ‘deal’ threads in the past months. It could be nothing.

But my inclination is to suspect that this ‘loophole’ has been closed, or is being closed, although it may still be possible to apply for two different cards that are part of different product lines at the same time.

Conventional wisdom may be changing on this one. Developing

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I actually tried this (unsuccessfully) on Sunday and thought I did something wrong. Applied (successfully) for the Visa on one computer, and then denied for the Amex on another computer (using a different browser – just to be sure). The second card didn’t go through immediately. I called the status line, and was told that it was beign shown as denied due to having an existing credit card (the Visa).

  2. This doesen’t appear to be misinformation. I personally applied last night for two cards- Visa and Amex. Both went to pending and only received email for visa. I called and got Visa pushed through. I thought about calling about the Amex but recent conversations have stated that calling may definitely deny someone. Hoping that it would somehow come through

  3. @Jay no disrespect was meant, there has been a cabal (not just posting on Flyertalk, but also in the comments on blogs) trying to keep information from getting shared and also trying to dissuade newbies from taking advantage of deals. Best I can tell discussion likely is taking place on one of the private deal sites, but it’s definitely an organized effort. Some folks, for instance, posting about having accounts closed for taking advantage of some deals when their accounts weren’t closed, as one example.

    I’m citing Flyertalk as the source here, I’m just suggesting that the information looks likely to be accurate but is not yet definitive.

  4. Not misinformation unfortunately. Helped my parents on a 7 card churn for my mom on Sunday night (as I posted on FT). All but the 2nd AA card (AA Visa) got approved. Citi said too many applications on the Visa and specifically pointed at the AA Amex she got approved for (instantly). Used IE and FireFox and submit button was hit within a few seconds of each other.

  5. Applied for both on Friday night, and was instantly approved for both. On Monday, though, I only got an email for the Visa – nothing for the Amex. Does this mean that I’ve only been approved for the Visa, and not the Amex?

  6. I appled for two Citi Hilton Reserve cards a couple weeks ago using the “same browser” trick and it worked fine, got both cards, no questions asked. (What I mean is that using IE I applied for one, then after submitting the application one I used IE to apply for another.) Worked for my wife too in the same week, so at least for Hilton Reserve cards, Citi will give you two at a time as of a couple weeks ago.

    @Jay, there are people who post false information to scare people away from deals. They post on blogs, on FT, on MP and everywhere else that this stuff is discussed. Gary is not criticising FT, but just noting that false negative information is frequently posted these days and you have to be aware of that.

  7. Agree that Gary is just warning that there is some misinformation out there not flaming FTers that have done this and that they are now. As I said, I can confirm that 2 browser trick did NOT work on Sunday.

  8. One data point – nearly a month old…did two browser trick for my wife on 12/31 both pended – but approved.

  9. My husband and I both applied on Saturday using 2-browser method and FT links. Husband was approved for both Plat and Gold instantly and I had to call for both. After calling, was approved for both. BUT, I had to move some credit lines around with other Citi accounts.

  10. two browser trick with both approved for me on january thirteenth.

    i don’t know whether to hope that there are really this many people trying to kill the deal or that it’s actually dead..

  11. Last September I tried for me (Amex and Visa) and did not work, Amex was instantly approved and visa pending. Called the reconsideration line who told me I would have to send some info via mail. I decided not to go throug and get only the Amex.

    2 months later, my wife tried the same and she got the visa instantly approved and Amex pending. Same thing here, we decided to just get the 50k bonus of one.

    I can’t tell if these experiences have something related to which card application the trigger was pulled first and I thought it had something to do with our Visa status / short credit history in the USA (despite excellent credit score).

    Apparently, we might have been one of the first experiencing this issue.

  12. I was successful with two browser trick around January 5, so that is a bit old.

    @R Tibs, I got a You’ve Been Approved e-mail for the Visa Signature but never received one for the Amex. The Amex showed up the same day as the Visa though.

  13. There are also recent reports on FT that you can no longer get 2 of the 50k Citi Hilton cards at the same time. There has been success getting one each of the Hilton Reserve and the 50k Citi Hilton Visa and inquiries merged. Citi has also been getting stricter on churning the AA Business cards.

  14. It didnt work for me. Tried on 27th Jan for Visa and AMEX AA cards using 2 browsers. Both werent approved instantly. Called for AMEX, got approved. Called for Visa, got denied. They said its because i applied for 2 cards. The only respite was the rep told me there will only be 1 credit pull. Will have to wait and watch my report if that indeed is true.

  15. I applied for the personal a couple of days ago and business at the same time, but only got the personal one. Same rejection reason as others here for the business. It looks like it’s dead for all variations.

  16. My wife was told by Citi South Dakota that the rules changed on Jan 18. I reported that the Hilton 50K signature and Reserve was approved and that in the state of TN both inquires were combined with Experian.

  17. Yesterday I did the 2-browser trick and one of them told me to call me to verify information and the other one said «sorry, but we cannot approve your application», with no explanation why.
    Called on the first one and got approved. Call on the second one, and the lady told me she cannot see why I was denied (did not mention anything about being a duplicate app), I asked her if she could do anything since I wanted the two card to have separate expenses for biz and personal, she was a little surprised by that but seemed to agree it made sense, but then said she was very sorry, but without the system having an explanation for my denial she couldn’t do anything to try and approve the card. She said I would eventually receive a letter with that explanation, and could call the reconsideration line then.
    I called the South Dakota at (866) 606-2787

  18. I applied last week (before Scott at Milevalue posted his recent post a few days ago) and got both approved. I think there might have been too many double applications after his new series on First class next month or something which caught Citi’s attention.

  19. I tried this trick last week. It was the 4th app I did all in the space of 1 hour. BOTH went to pending review and were later denied because of too many recent inquiries. I would suspect that Citi has beefed up their software and it is now picking up inquiries on Experian at least instantly. All the other banks must have had this capability all along because Citi was the only bank in the past this technique worked on. If someone wants to try this, it would probably be best to do the Citi apps first if you are doing an app-o-rama.

  20. I did it at the end of December. Got instantly approved for the Visa and pending for Amex. Two weeks later, got a letter saying they wanted to pull my tax return to verify my information. I was truthful on my application and have nothing to hide, so I complied. That was a week and a half ago and I still haven’t heard anything either way.

  21. @ Eli If you just don’t respond to their request for tax returns, nothing happens – you don’t get cards, you do get one hard pull. I did this last year because my prior year taxes were puny due to only working for 2 months after getting my Masters degree, and I had reported my full time salary.

  22. Dang! I was just about to get in on that trick in my next churn! Anyone else in the same boat? What’s your recourse?

  23. There have been two unique aspects to the Citi AA cards. The 2 browser trick is one. The other was that after 2 years, you could get them again. Has anyone who previously had an AA card gotten ANOTHER Citi AA card in the last week or so?

  24. Maybe i am the exception, but i applied for both the personal AA Visa and personal AA Amex using two browser method and both were immediately approved. I applied just this past Sunday, Jan 27th.

  25. @Robert Hanson I had 2 x Citi AA cards opened in Dec 2010, closed Oct 2011 because they didn’t offer a good retention bonus. They are on my Experian report as closed in good standing.

  26. On 1/11 I applied for both the citi MasterCard and Amex. Approved for both after calling the same day. I used the links for 40,000 points after $1000 spend in 4 months.

  27. It’s not misinformation from Flyertalk. It’s the absolute truth. I tried the 2 browser trick for the Citi Hilton Visa one week ago and was also denied on the second app because they have a new internal policy not to approve two of the same card at once.

  28. I also did the two browser trick for 2 citi Hiltons on Monday and both went to pending. When I called they said I could not apply for both at same time. They approved one and then I applied for a citi hilton reserve later that day. It went to pending first but was approved after I called.

  29. @Bella, so it looks like two same products “no go” but two different products are two-browser-able?

  30. Interesting. Literally, just got off the phone w/ the brother and was told that he got instantly approved for both cards using two browser trick. This was completed on 01/29/13.

  31. Yes some people were denied for one. That has happened since the beginning. And now people think it’s dead? Yet, I and others in that thread have verified double approvals. How are people verifying 2 approvals if it’s dead.

    Another note: many of the people who were declined called right away. My two friends received pending but did not call… and then were approved.

    Either way, it can’t be dead if people are still getting approved.

  32. I just happen to be post 4199 on FlyerTalk, and it’s definitely a change to their policy. It looks like if you get instantly approved for both, then you are lucky. But if you get a pending on one, things don’t look good. The CSR told me that I had excellent credit and it had nothing to do with that, but the system automatically denied me because of multiple applications and that AA is trying to limit the number of bonus miles that you can get at one time. Straight from the CSR’s mouth. But my wife and I still got 50k miles each (for cards we’ve had before), so really we have no room to complain!

  33. got 2 pending hilton

    got 2 approved via phone

    got 1 in mail

    got 1 decline in email after supposed approval

    called back told, can only have 1

    so maybe if get 2 instant approvals it works, but if goes to pending then there’s issues?

    maybe this is only if you apply for exact same product, rather than the citi AA amex/visa?

    who knows

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